Six of the seven known serotypes of foot-and-mouth disease (fmd) virus occur in Africa. This paper describes the results of a population-based cross-sectional study of the seroprevalence of fmd and the persistence of the virus in cattle herds and associated sheep flocks in the Adamawa province of Cameroon. Antibody titres measured by the virus neutralising test indicated that serotypes O, A and sat2 viruses had been circulating in the province. The estimates of apparent seroprevalence in cattle herds, based on five juvenile animals (eight to 24 months old) per herd, were 74·8 per cent for serotype sat2, 30·8 per cent for serotype A and 11·2 per cent for serotype O, indicating recent exposure; the estimates based on animals more than 24 months of age were 91·1 per cent for sat2, 83·6 per cent for A and 34·2 per cent for serotype O. Epithelial and oropharyngeal samples were collected from cattle and small ruminants, cultured and typed by elisa; serotypes A and sat2 were isolated from both types of sample. The herd-level estimate of apparent prevalence of probang-positive herds was 19·5 per cent and the animal-level estimate of apparent prevalence was 3·4 per cent. The geographical distribution of the seropositive herds based on juveniles suggested that recent sat2 exposure was widespread and particularly high in the more northern and western parts of the province, whereas recent exposure to serotype A was patchy and more concentrated in the south and east. This distribution corresponded very closely with the distribution of herds from which virus was recovered by probang, indicating recent exposure or infection. No serotype O viruses were recovered from cattle, and the distribution of seropositive herds suggested very localised recent exposure. The apparent prevalence of probang-positive animals declined with the age of the animal and the period since the last recorded outbreak in the herd.
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